OHPELRA's 2019 Public Safety Training Program

October 9, 2019



OHPELRA hosted its annual Public Safety training, “Managing Administrative Nightmares; Employment Issues in Public Safety” on Tuesday, September 10th with 110 in attendance. This training was truly one of the best public safety trainings in both attendance and program content.


Jennifer Edwards, Esq. and partner with OHPELRA’s sponsor firm, Baker Hostetler kicked off the morning by discussing harassment in public safety forces. Jennifer presented on managing gender identity, sexual orientation and harassment issues in the workplace and encouraged attendees to prepare now to handle these challenges and harassment allegations in the #MeToo era.


Bridging the gap between human resources and safety forces was the focus of the afternoon presentation. This included a practitioner and public safety leadership panel that talked about their experiences in partnering together as a united front when handling challenging personnel issues. Panelists included Brian Miller, Fire Chief and Charles “Cappy” Chandler, Chief of Police from the City of Westerville, Ohio and Lynn Miller, HR Director also with the City of Westerville. The panel also included Russell Martin, Sheriff of Delaware County, Ohio and the HR Manager, Chelsea Dean with the Sheriff’s Office.


The panel had many valuable takeaways and all agreed that human resources support and guidance of their organizational leadership combined with encouraging directors to run the organization provides the needed partnership to successfully manage personnel challenges. It is very important to trust and support each other, remain flexible, engage in healthy conflict, foster positive relationships, and communicate openly for the success of the organization overall.


The final presentation of the day was an overview of the community immersion and minority recruiting initiatives presented by Sergeant Chris Smith-Hughes and Officer Dianne Yandrich with the City of Columbus Division of Police Recruiting Unit Community Immersion program. Columbus Police focus on recruiting from three potential groups including current city employees, the explorer program focusing on 14 to 21 year olds and the new cadet program. Columbus PD also offers many community based programs designed to foster positive relationships with area youth to encourage and develop future leaders with the hope that youth with have future interest in public safety careers.


Dayton’s Homegrown Hero’s recruiting effort was presented by Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Lykins, Assistant Fire Chief Nicholas Hosford and Captain Mike Rice. Dayton’s program focuses on expanding diversity in the public safety forces to ensure a workforce that represents the community it serves. They focused on recruiting, engaging and mentoring existing city employees for public safety positions who were eligible to take promotional examinations for the Public Safety Force positions. This program has proven success and earned the National OHPELRA’s Pacesetter award in 2019.